Jeff Copeland, Ferry Pilot

If you look even briefly on Barnstormers, you see these ads a lot: "Ferry Pilot available...airline benefits...great rates!" There are literally dozens of these.

Well, because I care to have fun with my flying and don't mind a long day here and there doing it, I decided to throw my hat in with the rest of folks looking for whatever it is they're looking for--most for money or flying hours, probably. I couldn't care less about the money and I don't need hours. I'm in it purely for a new flying adventure.

I have the most hours in the C-130 (unlikely to pick up ferry work for that!), but next are Cirrus, Cherokee, and King Air, in that order. So, specializing in those aircraft I offered up my services.

To my surprise, I got several hits. The first couple didn't stick. One because I hadn't flown a Cheyenne, and another was because a guy wanted a Lance flown to Hawaii. I'm just a one-man operation without the time or resources to deal with ferry tanks, etc., so I declined that one. Another was about a Luscombe, which I also declined because I remember my Dad's stories about barely fitting into his Luscombe solo, let alone going to Mexico or somewhere with someone--anyone. I'm taller than my Dad and bigger now than he was then and adventure in my book isn't necessarily akin to a trip as a sardine with the new owner. Plus he wanted it done the weekend before the one trip I did pick up, and I want to stay married.

So, since I'm in it for fun and not the tangibles, I have the luxury of taking calls and only taking the ones that are within the realm of possibility for me. The one that stuck and the one for which I'll write a trip report next time was for a Cherokee 180 that a guy with a sport pilot certificate was buying and needed moved from South Carolina to Texas. It looked to be about ten hours of flying and eminently possible with an evening flight out and a long day back the next day. Plus, I owned one of these things for three years, and it would probably feel like coming home to fly one again. Easy peasey.

It's not glamorous work, and when the whole point is to get the job done with as little cost to the owner, it means long days, cheap flights, and 2-star hotels. Bill Cox had a great writeup on ferry flying as a profession, and he hit this point very succinctly. What it might lack in glamorous destinations or sexy new jets it makes up for in being a way to get back on a former mount and let the memories come rushing back of the last time you flew one.

In the end, it was a great adventure but probably isn't something that I would do but two or three times a year. Still, if you've got a Cirrus or King Air that needs to get moved, I'm your guy.


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